Jun 19, 2024  
OHIO University Graduate Catalog 2020-21 
OHIO University Graduate Catalog 2020-21 [Archived Catalog]

Film - MFA

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Master of Fine Arts in Film

Film – MF5142

School of Film
31 S. Court St., Rm 007
Ohio University
Athens, Ohio 45701

Delivery Mode: Athens Campus

Term of Entry: Fall

Program Overview

The M.F.A. in Film is a three-year program that provides advanced professional training in all aspects of filmmaking and a solid foundation in film studies allowing graduates to teach at the university level, to work in the film industry and/or as an independent artist. The program moves from a foundation-building first-year core sequence (fondly known as “boot camp”) to increased specialization in the second year and culminates in a third-year thesis production. The integrated first-year courses in production, screenwriting, sound, directing, digital editing and film studies complement the development of a first-year creative portfolio consisting of 16mm narrative film(s), directing and editing exercises, and a Hi-Def documentary. In the second year, students have access to specialization classes in cinematography, screenwriting, directing, post-production editing and sound design, while continuing to build their creative portfolios by directing narrative and/or documentary film(s).

The third year is devoted to completing course and portfolio requirements, thesis completion, and defense. Specialization tracks in cinematography, screenwriting, and post-production are also available to students in their 2nd and 3rd years of study.


Specialization tracks in cinematography and screenwriting are also available to students in their 2nd and 3rd years of study.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Disciplinary Competence: Students are able to create and produce original works in film and video including but not limited to narrative fiction, documentary, experimental, new media, and hybrid forms, at a level commensurate to the requirements of the field.
  • Critical Thinking and Creative Process: Students are able to generate and express original concepts for film and video. They are able to engage with their original concepts critically and incorporate external critical input into the process of developing their concepts. They are able to successfully transform their ideas into finished works of film and video.
  • Career Competence: Students are able to clearly articulate their specific and broad career goals and outline steps toward achieving them.

Further Information

Link to Program: https://www.ohio.edu/fine-arts/film/graduate-programs

Admission Requirements

  • Résumé or curriculum vita.
  • A maximum 500-word personal essay on your goals in pursuing graduate study in film.
  • A maximum 500-word personal statement.
  • Three current letters of recommendation.
  • A sample of written work consisting of a paper or papers on any subject (e.g., research paper, article, critical analysis)
  • Examples of creative work (e.g., filmmaking, screenwriting, creative writing, work from another medium)
  • 2-3 minute screenplay – exterior locations only, no dialogue.

International Students

This program permits full-time enrollment in residence at Ohio University, and an I-20 may be issued based on admission to this program.

Graduation Requirements

Complete a minimum of 90 credit hours as follows:

M.F.A. Core Curriculum

Complete all of the following courses. For courses with variable credit hours, minimum required hours and maximum hours that can be applied to the degree are given as a range.

Additional Requirements

All candidates for the M.F.A. in Film must complete the following additional requirements through courses approved by the Head of the program:

  • Additional Film Studies courses: min. 3 hours
  • Advanced Production courses: min. 14 hours
  • Film Practicum: min 6 hours of film crew service
  • Cognate courses: min. 6 hours of graduate coursework outside the School of Film
  • Thesis hours: min. 6 hours

Specialization Tracks

M.F.A. candidates may optionally select to complete the requirements for either the Cinematography or Screenwriting Track.


Required Courses

Complete the following:

Cinematography Cognate Courses

Complete at least two cognate courses from among the following, selected in consultation with the Track Advisor:

  • Lighting or Electrics courses from the School of Theater
  • Photography courses from the School of Art or the School of Visual Communication
  • Art History courses from the School of Art


Portfolio Requirements

Candidates in the Cinematography track must also complete portfolio work including the following:

  • Serve as the Director of Photography on four films, including one thesis film.
  • Submit a cinematographer’s real
  • Complete a research project/paper


Portfolio Requirements

Candidates in the Screenwriting track must also complete portfolio work including the following:

  • One short screenplay directed by another graduate film student
  • One feature length script
  • One teleplay or one original pilot or a second feature length script
  • One public staged reading of a feature length script or an original pilot for which the student casts and directs actors

Culminating Experience

To complete the MFA degree, a student has the option of making a thesis film or fulfilling the obligations of the screenwriting or cinematography specialization track.

  • Thesis Film - A thesis film is a short film or feature film in either the documentary, narrative, or experimental mode. The candidate must not only display the thesis, but should be able to defend it in terms of film history, criticism, theory, and aesthetic choices. The candidate must display the film in a public screening.
  • Portfolio – For students completing their MFA in one of the specialization tracks, there are specific portfolio requirements for each track (see above).

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